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The Time an Artist Sold His Own Excrement for the Price of Gold

The edgy, counterculture card game Cards Against Humanity made a statement about our consumer culture and the Black Friday craze by selling boxes of "bullshit," labeled as such, on their website the day after Thanksgiving. They sold 30,000 boxes of actual animal waste in under two hours.

Well played, Cards Against Humanity, but you're not the first to see the potential for a profound prank in feces.

In May 1961, Italian artist Piero Manzoni produced ninety cans of Merda d’artista, or Artist's Shit, each carefully labeled and numbered. It was said to be a reaction to the fact that his father once told him, "Your work is shit," but this wasn't the first time Manzoni played the value of his own bodily productions—he'd also sold balloons filled with his own breath.

Originally, each tin was priced to be worth its weight in gold, $37 in 1961. But over the years the value of these closed tins has only increased. In 2000, Sotheby’s auctioned one for $67,000, and although the price per ounce of gold had been subject to inflation, if the tins stayed level with gold's market price it should have cost only $395.77. Almost 30 years of aging saw the smelly contents increase in value faster than gold by almost 70-fold.

Unlike Cards Against Humanity—which sourced good old fashion pasteurized bull feces for their stunt—Manzoni's tins might not be the real deal. In 2007, one of Manzoni's collaborators, Agostino Bonalumi, said that the tins contained not actual human excrement but rather plain old plaster.

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Watch a Chain of Dominos Climb a Flight of Stairs
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Dominos are made to fall down—it's what they do. But in the hands of 19-year-old professional domino artist Lily Hevesh, known as Hevesh5 on YouTube, the tiny plastic tiles can be arranged to fall up a flight of stairs in spectacular fashion.

The video spotted by Thrillist shows the chain reaction being set off at the top a staircase. The momentum travels to the bottom of the stairs and is then carried back up through a Rube Goldberg machine of balls, cups, dominos, and other toys spanning the steps. The contraption leads back up to the platform where it began, only to end with a basketball bouncing down the steps and toppling a wall of dominos below.

The domino art seems to flow effortlessly, but it took more than a few shots to get it right. The footage below shows the 32nd attempt at having all the elements come together in one, unbroken take. (You can catch the blooper at the end of an uncooperative basketball ruining a near-perfect run.)

Hevesh’s domino chains that don't appear to defy gravity are no less impressive. Check out this ambitious rainbow domino spiral that took her 25 hours to construct.

[h/t Thrillist]

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A Secret Room Full of Michelangelo's Sketches Will Soon Open in Florence
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Claudio Giovannini/AFP/Getty Images

Parents all over the world have chastised their children for drawing on the walls. But when you're Michelangelo, you've got some leeway. According to The Local, the Medici Chapels, part of the Bargello museum in Florence, Italy, has announced that it plans to open a largely unseen room full of the artist's sketches to the public by 2020.

Roughly 40 years ago, curators of the chapels at the Basilica di San Lorenzo had a very Dan Brown moment when they discovered a trap door in a wardrobe leading to an underground room that appeared to have works from Michelangelo covering its walls. The tiny retreat is thought to be a place where the artist hid out in 1530 after upsetting the Medicis—his patrons—by joining a revolt against their control of Florence. While in self-imposed exile for several months, he apparently spent his time drawing on whatever surfaces were available.

A drawing by Michelangelo under the Medici Chapels in Florence
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Museum officials previously believed the room and the charcoal drawings were too fragile to risk visitors, but have since had a change of heart, leading to their plan to renovate the building and create new attractions. While not all of the work is thought to be attributable to the famed artist, there's enough of it in the subterranean chamber—including drawings of Jesus and even recreations of portions of the Sistine Chapel—to make a trip worthwhile.

[h/t The Local]

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